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Penguins notebook: Jokinen better after brief illness

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Jussi Jokinen fights for the puck with the Rangers' Anton Stralman in the first period, on Friday, April 5, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

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By Josh Yohe
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 7:39 p.m.

Center Jussi Jokinen had to make a choice during Wednesday's game against the Montreal Canadiens: Keep underperforming because of illness or get to the locker room. He chose the latter.

“It's been great,” Jokinen said. “There are a lot of big names here, but everyone plays the game the right way. I've enjoyed being here.”

Malkin's status uncertain

It remains unknown if center Evgeni Malkin will play in Friday's showdown between the Penguins and Boston Bruins, but he did partake in practice and showed no ill effects of a shoulder injury that has been plaguing him for much of the season.

Malkin worked extensively with the first power-play unit, which could be a sign that he is prepared to return against the Bruins. The Penguins usually practice their special teams with only configurations that figure to be used in the next game.

Fan appreciaiton week

The Penguins are going above and beyond for their fans next week. Instead of the standard Fan Appreciation Night that is held during the final home game of the season, the Penguins will hold Fan Appreciation Week between April 22 and April 27.

A number of prizes will be given away via Root Sports, the Penguins' Twitter and Facebook pages and the Penguins' website during the week.

“Shirts Off Our Back Night” will still take place following the Penguins' regular-season finale at Consol Energy Center on April 27 against Carolina.

Injuries and absences

Center Joe Vitale blocked a shot late in the third period against the Canadiens, hobbled to the locker room and did not return. However, Vitale did take part in Thursday's practice and will be available on Friday in Boston.

Right wing James Neal (concussion) did not skate at Consol Energy Center before Thursday's practice. However, defenseman Paul Martin (broken bone in hand) did skate.

Center Sidney Crosby remained away from the team because of his grandmother's funeral in Canada.

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